Maelys de Araujo is a nine-year-old girl who disappeared in the French Alps last August after attending a wedding with her parents in the village of Le Pont-de Beauvoisin in the Isere region. According to BBC News, the young girl’s remains have been found and an ex-soldier by the name of Nordahl Lelandais is accused of killing her.
As reported by the BBC, the young girl was last seen during the early hours of August 27 at the children’s area of the wedding reception. The search for her remains took nearly an entire day and involved the work of sniffer dogs who had to rummage through the snow to track her remains down.
Nordahl is a 34-year-old former soldier and he was present at the wedding at the time that Maelys went missing. It was in the early hours of August 27 when CCTV cameras filmed a black Audi A3, which is said to belong to Nordahl, leaving the reception. According to The Guardian, a small person could be seen sitting in the front passenger seat. The Grenoble prosecutor. Jean-Yves Coquillat said: ‘a frail, small silhouette [of someone] wearing a white dress can be seen in the front passenger seat.’ Maelys was wearing a white dress for the reception but when the vehicle returned around 3:24 am, there was no passenger.
Nordahl claims that Maelys had asked to see his dogs which were inside his vehicle at the time of her disappearance. However, the prosecutor claims that a mere minute after Maelys was last seen at 2:45 am, Nordahl’s phone was put on airplane mode. According to The Guardian, Nordahl was filmed meticulously cleaning his Audi at a service station for more than two hours. His claim was that he was preparing to sell his vehicle.
But when prosecutors showed Nordahl a report that showed that Maelys’ DNA was found on his dashboard he agreed to cooperate with police and said he ‘got rid of the body’ and offered his apologies to the family. As reported by the BBC, Nordahl has maintained his innocence and said that although the girl may have been in his car it doesn’t mean that he killed her. However, in that same article, BBC alleges that several French media outlets have reported that Nordahl has confessed in prison after Maelys’ blood was found in his car.
In a scathing Facebook post from Maelys’ mother, Jennifer Cleyet Merrel, she wrote: ‘we had to wait five and a half months for this monster to finally speak… Maëlys will haunt your nights and days in your prison. My little angel, I couldn’t protect you from this predator, and this guilt will continue for a long time.’
France’s Le Parisien newspaper has reported that Nordahl has refused to provide details of the young girl’s death and instead maintained that her death was an accident. Prosecutors claim that Maelys’ body was taken to an area near Nordahl’s home and then he returned back to the wedding reception. It was only after he returned from the reception that he recovered the remains and buried them in the Chartreuse mountains. The former soldier has since been charged with the disappearance of a 23-year-old soldier named Arthur Noyer after Arthur disappeared in April of 2017 and Nordahl was found to have searched the internet for ‘human body decomposition.’
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